Vice President Kamala Harris arrived on Martha’s Vineyard at about 3:30 pm aboard Air Force 2 at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, according to a pool report. Harris arrived on the Island from an appearance in Boston where she spoke about reproductive rights.
When she arrived in Boston, Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chair of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) was among the dignitaries there to greet Harris. Andrews-Maltais was also on hand for the roundtable discussion on reproductive rights.
“It was such a tremendous honor to be invited to welcome Vice President Harris to Massachusetts, and participate in her roundtable on Women’s Reproductive Rights,” Andrews-Maltais told The Times. “She is so warm and engaging. At the roundtable, you could see how knowledgeable she is on the subject, and how committed she is to protecting women’s right to the freedom of choice.”
According to Andrews-Maltais, Harris spoke about the high instances of maternity fatalities in minority communities and specifically noted the increased rates among Native women.
“She commended Governor Baker for his immediate action to issue an executive order to protect women’s rights and the Massachusetts legislature for codifying those rights of women and medical providers into law,” Andrews-Maltais said. “She stated that Massachusetts is a role model, leading the way for the rest of the country.”
The forum included lawmakers, advocates and other government officials in Massachusetts who have worked to protect women’s reproductive rights, Andrews-Maltais said.
“She as well as President Biden have an open invitation to come visit our Homelands here on Noepe,” she said. “It was an honor and experience I will always remember.”
Harris spent four hours on the Island Thursday attending two separate fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee before she headed back at the airport to take off and return to Washington, D.C.
Harris got off the plane at about 3:40 pm, gave a quick wave to the media pool, and then headed for her first of two events scheduled for her on the Vineyard. At the airport, a dozen people attempted to snap photos of Harris as she climbed into a waiting SUV.
While on the Island, Harris appeared at a Democratic National Committee event in Oak Bluffs at a private residence. She arrived at that event, at a home located near Farm Neck golf course just after 4 pm, according to the pool report. Along the way, the entourage received waves from bystanders. There was no press allowed into that event.
A little after 5 pm, Harris left the O.B. event and headed for another DNC fundraiser at a private residence in West Tisbury near the Vineyard Haven line at the home of Robert Epstein in an area known as Makonikey. (The vice president’s official schedule incorrectly stated that the party was in Vineyard Haven.)
Outside the house, Harris stood on a raised deck and a few dozen guests stood in the yard with glasses of wine, according to the pool report.
“We need to elect two more senators, we need to hold the Senate and get two more, because Joe said he will not let the filibuster stand in the way of” abortion rights and voting rights, she said, according to the pool report. Her remarks were met with applause. “The work that you all are doing to support this effort matters in a tremendous way, in particular when we are looking at the stakes being so high.”
Harris spoke about meeting Gov. Charlie Baker earlier and about the law he recently signed codifying women’s reproductive rights in Massachusetts. She said Baker “has been signing some really outstanding legislation and making clear … some issues are fundamental,” according to the pool report. “The Supreme Court took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America and the women of America and it will and already is having a profound impact” on Individuals and the founding principles of freedom and liberty.
After other comments about the filibuster and the upcoming elections, Harris said, “Elections matter, because you all came out in 2020 we were able to do all this work.”
Though she has family on the Vineyard, Harris didn’t stay long. She had planned to visit the Island in May for a more casual stay, but canceled it after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The Island has been buzzing with political visitors — no surprise given the upcoming midterm elections. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, made an appearance at a fundraiser last week on the Island.
Raskin is also being honored at a private gathering on Friday in Chilmark.
On Wednesday, a large plane landed at Martha’s Vineyard Airport kicking off speculation about who might be arriving on Island. Meanwhile, there have been several reports of police-escorted SUVs that are typical of high-profile political visits.
Thursday, Aug. 4, is also former president and seasonal resident Barack Obama’s birthday. Unlike last year there is no talk about a big bash at his Edgartown home.
Reporter Eunki Seonwoo contributed to this report.